Rosetta mission – Latest picture truly breathtakingTim Kennedy (Author) Published Date : Apr 03, 2016 03:35 IST
Comets such as the 67P are of particular interest to the scientists since their origins date back to the start of the history of our solar system.
Thanks to the combination of a long, four-second exposure, no attenuation filter and a low-gain setting on the analogue signal processor of NAVCAM (a setting that is used to image bright targets), the image reveals the bright environment of the comet, displaying beautiful outflows of activity streaming away from the nucleus in various directions, ESA officials released on a news blog for the comet mission.
The image now provided by Rosetta is pretty striking since the comet, the sun and the orbiter are in near perfect alignment. The backlit effect from this alignment shows off the environment with dust and gas while presenting a gorgeous sight.
The comet will continue to be studied by Rosetta till such time the controllers issue directions for it to land sometime in September. While mission officials would be keen to achieve a gentle touchdown to ensure that data keeps coming in as long as the spacecraft can keep relaying it. However, the venture will come to an end in September. The impact during the drop is also expected to damage the spacecraft and it is likely that all contacts with the earth get snapped. Scientists are therefore hoping to gather as much data as possible from the wanderer which is about 4km wide.
Present observations reveal the working of the battery of material which is carried from 67P by the solar wind.
The latest image now presented by Rosetta was acquired by its navigation camera system. Presently the probe and the comet are just about 400 million kilometres away from the Sun and is receding at a speed of 20 km every second. The Rosetta has covered some 7.7 billion kilometres after it was launched in 2004 and passed close to Mars and two asteroids while on its path to meet 67P, Rosetta arrived on the comet in 2014 August and dropped the Philae Lander on its surface in November 2014. On its journey back towards Jupiter s orbit, the power generated by the solar panels on the spacecraft will diminish significantly. Officials at the ESA are not considering placing the probe in a sleep mode and await better lighting conditions on 67P on its next visit to the inner region of the solar system. On the other hand, they hold the view that some more close-up images during the bump down landing will be a fitting finale for the mission.
Rosetta mission – Latest picture truly breathtaking